weight loss

Myths & Facts: Weight Loss

If you are like many Americans, you likely spent the past month indulging with friends and family. Now you’re being flooded with advertisements for weight loss miracles.

Turning over a new leaf for the new year is an admirable goal, but be sure you can separate fact from fiction before you get started.

Myth: Starting a ‘detox’ is an important step in weight loss.

Truth: The idea behind a detox is to remove toxins from your body. The fact is, your body already does this for you. The liver, kidneys, and colon work together to filter and remove harmful substances out of the body.

This means you don’t need to fast, survive on juice for a few days, or drink an apple cider vinegar concoction. If you want to be a friend to your liver and kidneys, lay off the alcohol and drink more water or tea. To help keep your colon working well (removing waste), up your fiber intake (think foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains).

Myth: All calories are created equal.

Truth: Intuitively we know this isn’t true. Think of two 100 calorie foods: an apple versus 25 skittles. I’m sure we all agree that an apple is more filling. We aren’t likely to get up in a few minutes and eat another apple, but we might go and snack on another handful of skittles. So what’s the difference here?

In this particular case, the big difference is fiber. Fiber adds bulk to food, causing your stomach to feel full faster and longer than foods without fiber. Foods filled with healthy fats and protein also keep us feeling full for longer. Both protein and fat take longer to digest than carbohydrates. Another important piece to keep in mind is that you should be providing nutrients to your body when you eat. Try choosing vitamin and mineral rich foods over low-calorie processed snacks. You’re doing you body a lot more good by eating 300 calories of a salad than 250 calories of candy.

Myth: Exercise alone causes weight loss.

Truth: Exercise is great for you. It can build muscle, increase endurance, help your balance, boost your mood, and help maintain weight loss, but exercise alone isn’t enough to cause weight loss in most people. The majority of people overestimate the calories they burn doing exercise and underestimate the calories they consume through food and beverage. Combine that with the additional hunger usually experienced after exercise, and most people won’t lose a significant amount of weight.

In conclusion:

When it comes to weight loss, keep in mind that if something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Losing weight in a safe and sustainable way requires lifestyle change and dedication. Check out these veggie rich, high-fiber recipes that are sure to get your new year started off right: Spicy Stuffed Peppers, Vegetable Confetti Rolls, Garden Sloppy Joes, and Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf.

Written by Rachel Caty MPH, RDN, LDN